The Wayne State Campus Health Committee provided updates on the status of COVID-19 on campus and how students, faculty and staff can prepare for this academic year at a virtual campus health town hall Thursday.
College of Nursing Dean Laurie Lauzon Clabo said COVID-19 cases at WSU slightly increased as the fall semester began.
“The number of cases on campus has ticked up a little bit as we have seen the number of people on campus increase,” Clabo said. “But the number of cases remain low and considerably below any of the campus metrics of concern.”
WSU has an indoor mask mandate until Sept. 15, The South End reported. The Campus Health Committee will then examine campus, local and regional data to determine its future, Clabo said.
“Will the mask mandate be extended beyond Sept. 15? Answer is we don’t know,” Clabo said. “We will follow the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance on where we are in terms of transmission status in our region, in the Detroit area specifically and on campus, as well as finding out what our overall vaccine uptake on campus is.”
“Currently we don’t see that we are anywhere near that status,” Clabo said. “The science on booster shots is still evolving and at the moment, we don’t expect, certainly for this fall, that we will change the requirement beyond what our current mandate status is.”
According to TSE, some incoming campus residents have said they are unaware of WSU’s procedure for a positive COVID-19 case in campus housing.
“If you are positive for COVID-19, whether that be a test or symptomatically, we would put you in isolation,” said Dr. Ramona Benkert, College of Nursing associate dean for academic and clinical affairs. “People in close contact to those individuals are quarantined. They would be quarantined away from the sick person and from others so they don’t spread the condition. It’s important to think of the terms differently.”
WSU will provide infected individuals with separate housing and food delivery for the duration of their isolation period, Benkert said.
“You don’t get to leave your isolation room in that 10 day period,” Benkert said. “Housing works very closely with the Campus Health Center to move you to one of their special isolation rooms. You will move to that room and then will have food and other things delivered to you outside your door.”
Kelly Dormer, a disability specialist with Student Disability Services, said students with disabilities should register with SDS for WSU to best accommodate their needs.
“If you’re a student who is immunocompromised or has a documented health condition that concerns you, particularly as it pertains to COVID-19 exposure or really any condition that impacts your ability to fully participate in the educational or campus experience, please reach out to us so we can help you get connected,” Dormer said.
Some students have also expressed concern about the cost of COVID-19 testing and flu shots, Clabo said. The CHC provides these services to campus community members free of charge.
"We encourage, if you have questions for members of the Campus Health Committee to submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org," Clabo said. "We'll reach out by email and we're certainly preparing to answer those questions in subsequent town halls."
Appointments for a COVID-19 test, COVID-19 vaccination or flu shot can be booked on the CHC’s website.
Clabo will host a virtual student town hall at 3 p.m. on Sept. 15.
Irving Mejia-Hilario is the managing editor for The South End. He can be reached at email@example.com.